Does It Still Hurt?

   Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”                      John 20-27 NIV

 Our topic for the day was “God is Not Picking On You…..Trials Vs. Temptations.” It started as a lesson on discerning the difference between trials and temptations and how to rejoice in the trials that God gives you.   However, very quickly, it turned into a discussion of past hurts, disappointments, and especially abuses in childhood.

As I watched several people compare stories and physical scars, instinctively I glanced at a recent one on my arm.  A footprint shaped burn I received thinking I could cook a meal for my family the day after my youngest grandchild took his flight for heaven.

Forgetting I was the one teaching the class,   my eyes began to well up on me, but the Holy Spirit nudged me to look again and then asked, “Does it Still Hurt?”

I was like “Of course Lord, it still hurts”.

“No, Chelle. You really mean that 6 month old scar still hurts?”

“No, Lord, of course the scar doesn’t hurt.”

“Okay then, give me all of it.”

Uggh, I felt it in my spirit and I asked the class and I asked you, the same question the Holy Spirit asked me.    “Does it still hurt?”

In John Chapter 20:25, Thomas makes a bold statement, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.  This was even after Jesus had appeared to several of his fellow disciples during the 8 days since the crucifixion proclaiming that everything Jesus has said would happen had come.

Jesus had forewarned that He would take the sins and sickness of His people to the cross.  That He would take on the pains of abuse, disappointment and despair.  That He would whip these things to naught and deliver them and death to the gates hell, while snatching the keys from satan so that nothing the devil had could really win over us.  And as evidence of His work, he broke the grave wide open and showed that freedom from all manner of trial and temptation could walk the earth.

However, how many of us now need to take on the title of “doubting” that history has given Brother Thomas? How many of us have received the written, heard, and Rhema Word of God and been flooded with the freeing testimonies of how others have seen the Lord move in their lives, yet still keep looking down at our scars declaring  disbelief until we receive a full manifestation with our own eyes.

Jesus is still reaching out to you saying, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”…

He wants you to know, that though yes there is a scar on your body and your heart that evokes a memory that will move you…….and yes, He understands because He was touched with every trial and temptation you face….., it is paramount that you understand that He bears scars on His hands, feet, and side that are witness that He took it all for you.   He doesn’t want you to carry the burden any longer. He does not want you to smell like smoke though you have been singed by  the fires of life.

When Jesus, invited Thomas to “Thrust his fingers into His side”, Jesus was still bearing the evidence of His wounds (aka your wounds), yet they could not have possibly hurt to the touch if he would allow Thomas to do so.

In essence, Jesus was reaffirming that it was possible to be bruised, beaten, broken and horribly scarred, yet be so healed in the promises of God that the discolorations and disfiguration become “smoothed out proof” that God’s Living Word is still living.

Jesus wants you to receive that gift from Him.   He took it.  He bears the scars.  He gives you the freedom from what life delivered.   Though you bear evidence of it, He does too.   And since His wounds healed, so did yours.  That moment when we trust in Him enough to give the pain to Him, even when we can still see and feel the scar, He will take that anomaly on your heart and make it a tattoo of your testimony instead.  He will make you a walking, talking, scar bearing evidence that He is very much alive!!!!


Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. – Jude: 1:24.

It is that time of year again!

As I reflect, I note times so painful in 2015 that I literally lost my senses of smell, touch, and taste and the ability to produce tears. I suppose it was in an effort to protect myself from all I was experiencing. First, as I presided over my dad’s funeral. Again while anointing with oil of myrrh the lifeless body of my youngest grandchild. Once more, as my 37 year old sister suffered a debilitating stroke.

In these moments, I was internally, silently screaming at God, “Why do you trust me with so much pain?” I felt Him whispering back to me, “Just know to trust Me more”.

And then, there were times so joyful that I thought I would burst. My son received a hearing restorative device after 3 years of silence. I found siblings I didn’t know I had. Met new friends and reconnected with old; financial windfalls, and the acquisition of a debt free building for our ministry.

In these moments, I would be humbled by the blessings of God and ask,” Why do you trust me with so much goodness?” And He would whisper to me, “Just Know to Trust Me More.

Reminds me very much of that old “trust exercise” where you allow yourself to just fall back and hope that the one behind you was willing to and strong enough to catch you. Without a doubt, the One Who Is Mighty to Save is fully able and entirely willing to catch you and not only that, He is able to keep you from falling in the first place.

In every moment, those in which I thought my soul could not go on and in those where I thought it could fly, God has always been there to keep me from falling. He has always known how much I could take and how much I could receive. How much I could bear and how often He would have to carry my weight. In all of this, He was wooing me to “Trust Him More”.

It is easy to just trust? No,not always. Pain can tempt us to shrivel away and blessings can tempt us to be full of ourselves. But when we turn our focus to the “One who is able to keep us from falling away” levels of faith increases and the process more sure. Every day, I must choose to see Him as my Source, my Backbone, and my Back-Up I find myself repeating over and over, “ To Him who is able to keep me from falling… into sin, from falling into despair, from falling into pride, from falling into debt, from falling into sickness..” And so on and so on

That trust is empowering when we remember that it also carries a promise of “great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault”. Imagine being invited into the Presence of the Almighty…. Into His Love, His Care, His Healing and His Provision….knowing full well that you are unworthy and incapable …only to have Him say “ Come on in, I see no fault in you”. Selah on that one, will you! Now receive the joy from the knowing!

So as I prepare my set for praise and worship at midnight tonight, the song that immediately comes to mind hails from Hillsong’s Darlene Zschech. The lyrics of the chorus sum up 2015 and gives me peace about 2016:

“Though Mountains Fall, I’ll Stand
By the Power of Your Hand
And In Your Heart of Hearts I’ll Dwell
And This My Soul Knows Very Well”

Yes to Him who is able to keep me from falling!!!!! This my soul knows very well!


It requested to repost this thought from almost five years ago.   God has done wonders since then!!!!!

 Pink Polka Dotted Elephants.  That is what I call thoughts that come from out of nowhere to distract you from focusing on what is right and good. The Bible instructs us to think on those things that are lovely, things that are pure, and are in line with the Word of God.  It instructs us know that God has a plan for our good and our welfare.

But tonight, after taking my usual bedtime routine of potions, pills and injections and all the other expensive crap designed to keep me breathing …. along came that stupid elephant in the room.

No…. I wasn’t high off of anything… LOL.   He had come to visit because someone had posed the question earlier “Are You Afraid Of Dying Young?”.  I didn’t answer the human who said it…. but apparenlty inquiring devils wanted to know.

I tried quoting reaffirming scripture after scripture in my head to make the stupid thought go away.   “Jesus Bore My Sickness and Carried My diseases and By His Stripes I am Healed. “I shall live and not die but declare the works of the Lord”. But to no avail….the little imp was determined to interrupt my sleep.

So here is how I answered to make him run back into his imaginary evil world.  NO….I am not afraid of dying young… but rather I am more afraid of PEOPLE who will watch me grow old but try to make me live like I am dying.

They  mean well.. but do they really have to remind me of how bad I look everytime they see me.  Yes,   I know what the doctors said.. But I also know what Jesus died for.  My symptoms are just that, symptoms of lying vanities……. because I know I am already healed.   Wether it manifests for you to see is not my problem or God’s.  Could you please just rejoice in the hope and testimony I am aiming for?  And No, I am not putting down my microphone.  I am pretty sure my head wont explode while hitting a high note.  And yes, I laugh and think it is funny that you don’t know me well enough to know that I dont intend to lay myself away and just accept anything.

Pink Polka Dotted Elephants In the Room beware the Overcomer has come!   You may not  always be able to  ignore the silly thoughts the devil sends.  But remember the devil knows that he has already lost (big dummy)…. he is just trying to trick you into focusing on lies and stupidty. The only way he can beat you is if you allow your imagination to run in his direction.   Address  those contradicting thoughts what with you know to be true about God’s Word instead….thoughts of healing, prosperity, love and dreams of the good things God wants for you in a life more abundantly.

So enough of the elephants .  Back to hell’s zoo they go!  For Good this time.

No Seed Alone

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless the seed of wheat having fallen to the earth dies, it remains alone.
But if it dies, it bears much fruit.  –   John 12:24 (DLNT)

It is an awesome blessing that, in very recent weeks, my earthly father, most certainly under the direction of my Heavenly Father, had taken great care into making sure that I would be united with my slightly younger sister, Tammy. The two of them had only reconnected a few months prior and though I had heard her name in conversation before, she never really knew I existed.

As I would soon find, timing is everything. On January 5, ironically on my birthday, Tammy’s mother died. My dad was devastated at the thought of his baby girl being alone and though we could not make the services, we had made plans to make a 6 or so hour drive to see Tammy. Daddy felt she needed him and that she would need me.

I didn’t fully understand his urgency, until just 30 days later, on February 5, both Tammy and I would lose Daddy.

As I went through Daddy’s papers in preparation to celebrate his entrance into Heaven, I begin to find “bread crumbs on a trail” leading me where he wanted me to go. I found Tammy’s birth card from the hospital where she was born.  I found her younger brother’s newborn pics. Over and over, I found evidence of the six children he loved, lost in circumstance and had hoped to renew full fellowship with.

Tammy and I have not met yet, nor have I had the opportunity to meet two of my other siblings… yet. The memorial service is in a few days and I pray they will all be able to make the winter travel. But she and I have had a ball getting to know each other via text, phone and social media. We realized that we are actually pretty alike including our bad habit of not being able to sleep past 4 a.m. and that we are both warrior sisters who like to get stuff done and done right. LOL.

During one of our conversations, John 12:24 came to my mind… “Unless a seed falls to the ground…. It remains alone”. God knows we miss our parents. My mom died on a February day as well… on a day ironically important to Tammy’s mom too. But it seems clear to me that they had somehow planted seeds that are multiplying in us.

Seeds of wiping each others tears. Seeds of laughter. Seeds of hope. Seeds of forgiveness. Seeds of renewal. Seeds of never really being alone again.

Tammy says that she had always wanted a  sister. She just inherited more than a few. My sister Melody says that the  girls involved should never call ourselves half-sisters because we are all too chubby to be halfs of anything. Lisa can’t wait to embrace all of us.. thinking she was the oldest… but tickled to find out she was not.

I began to count out all the children from all the parents involved and realized that Tammy has a lot more sisters and brothers that she will be able to handle. All ages, sizes, colors and shapes ….not letting blood separate us …. But embracing each other as what my youngest sister, Cheryl, calls “grown orphans.” LOL.

Even though there are only 5 months between Tammy and myself, I am pleased that she thinks of me as a big sister. It remains to be seen if she will relish her role as a soon to be spoiled Baby Sis. I think we were both feeling loved when I got the chance to nag her this morning about making sure she lets me know that she got to work okay … snowy weather both here in Virginia and in New Jersey where she is. She agreed to comply with the request of this “mother hen.”

The seed has definitely been planted, Daddy.

What Kind of Doughnut Does God Like?

“But I have this against you: You have left the love you had in the beginning.”
Revelation 2:4 (ERV)

In my office, in my particular section, in my specific group, we are a pretty tight bunch. Not to say it is a virtual love fest all of the time. Just like all families, which I believe we have become, we genuinely and generally care about each other.

In the midst of a team effort of solid performances, quarterly reports, deadlines, demands and demons (aka budget goals) that cause most groups to be pretty cutthroat, we have managed to make our environment better by really getting to know each other. We share our joys and sorrows, pasts and presents, and our hopes for the future.

For instance, today is doughnut day! I believe the excitement of that square cake box filled with a dozen naughty delights is made even sweeter by the fact that I don’t just pick up a dozen glazed (even though most folks would gobble that.) I get up early to go to a special shop that is known for the best doughnuts with the largest traditional variety. None of the crazy bacon or weird stuff, but good, honest, homemade, preservative free calories.

Over the years, I have observed my work family and realized that this one will eat this and that one loves that, who will only eat a half and who will eat the other half. And that my boss… well… he will eat the box if you put sugar on it. The doughnut baker has also come to know my work family, so much so, that he starts working on my order when he sees me get out of the car. It has become a thing of extraordinary service that he knows us so well that the first time I asked him to omit a certain treat, he wanted to know if somebody was on a diet or had quit.

So my question to you is this, What Kind of Doughnut Does God Like?

Sometimes in the midst of our so called “service” to God, we get caught up in the mature ins and outs of weekly attendance, volunteer groups, planning committees, building funds efforts….. all great things by the way…. But then forget the sweet intimacy of relationship that God want to have with us. We become little Marthas, “troubled by many things”, and miss out on the Mary experience of which Jesus Christ said was a “good portion, that would not be taken away.” (Luke 10:42). He took the time to know you before you were even formed (Jer 1:5). We must prioritize the time to get to know Him again.

Now don’t call your pastor and tell him I said you have to quit everything!! Just be mindful that God doesn’t mind you being busy, He just does not want you to be so busy “doing for” Him that you “forget about loving” Him. There are times you just need to sit and let Him talk to you, whether via the written Word or mediation, instead of just making your prayer time about need, wants and demands. The songs you sing should not just make you “happy” but imagine Him leaning via the throne room to listen in. Don’t get so caught in the preaching, teaching and ministering that defines you that you totally forget Who it is all about in the first place. Big hint… it is not you.

So back to today’s question! The great Creator of the Universe, of whom, His Word is constantly referring to the sweetness of it, must surely like a doughnut with honey and a glass of milk. My husband, the great thinker in the house, says (in his big baritone voice) “If you view all that God has made, you would know He would like a variety box.”

I responded, “ If you would look in the mirror, you would know that God likes something a little nutty.”

Father, in the matchless Name of Jesus, we enter Your Presence thanking You for all that You have given us and given us to do to “occupy until You come.” But Lord today we want to take the time to return to our first love experience with You. We repent for letting our self-services and even our good intentions get in the way and we commit ourselves, once again, to really getting to know You again. We are excited about the adventure. In Jesus Name, Amen.

The Presents of His Presence

Luke 11:13. So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Every time my younger sister comes to the house, she walks by it and groans. Every time my one of my grandsons, Jeremiah, comes to the house he exclaims, “I love it here.” So, naturally, the situation has me torn.

You see, today is Saturday, January 31,  2015 and still…. in all its splendid glory and beauty, gracing my living room like a strong tower and great representation of faith…. the tree of Christmas 2014 is still up.

Yes, I was the last one in the family to decorate, I always am. And yes, you are right, I am probably just too lazy to take it down. But, the delay lead to the joke, that lead to the miracles.

It was funny at first when on January 6, …. the official last day of Christmas tree removal etiquette…., I irritated the sister, who shall remain nameless, (you know who I am talking about, don’t you , Cheryl?) by saying “ Shoot , as long as the tree stays up , I will have a prepared place for the gifts to keep coming.” But it stopped being such a joke before long because for days….. almost every day…. stuff started coming and coming from strange places.

Actually, gifts started coming from people who said they were just thinking of us. Rebates owed started coming. A grant that had been denied was suddenly overturned and a huge medical expense paid. Some bonus money from work I wasn’t expecting showed up and on and on and on. We even took one blessing, turned it into a seed into a homeless woman and her child and watched God multiply it into a home for the two of them.

I do believe even the “unsaid” sister thought about a request or two. So much so, my husband, said “Leave it up all year, we will just change the decorations each month.” LOL.

Now surely, we know that the Christmas tree had nothing to do with it really, though it had become a testimony of God’s goodness to all that heard about it. My heart was struck by “having a place prepared for the presence of His presence and His presents” Since we have already established that the Lord loves to give gifts, spiritual and material, to his children, we should also note that Psalm 35:27 tells us to “Let the Lord be magnified, who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.”.

So, would it be safe to say that the “great Christmas Tree miracle of 2014” was really the result of the members of our household and others happily blessing God. Our prepared hearts were praising and thanking him for the unusual testimony He had given us to share. I believe God was using us to get this point to a few others : He does want to bless you and care for you …… and truly that “ no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly in Him. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him” (Psalm 84:11).

As much as I have grown to love having it in the corner of the living room, I may take it down today, simply because I don’t want folks to get the notion that it is about the tree. All blessings in this house come from the Lord. Our greatest gifts came in the birth, death and ultimately, the triumphant resurrection of Christ…..freedom from the bonds of sin, sickness, death and the promises of eternal life.

Though, I just might wait until after Jeremiah visits again so I can hear him say one more time “ I love it here, It is always Christmas.” Or maybe after Valentines …or Maybe Easter…or maybe until you show up to help. You get the picture!

Father, in the amazing Name of Jesus, we thank You for the amazing gift of Your son, Jesus Christ,and all the grace and pleasures You have afforded us under the covenant of His blood. Lord we do not take lightly the gifts, both spiritual and in the natural , that You have given us. We appreciate them and know that You bless us to be a blessing to others. Guide us as we use your resources and talents to glorify Your kingdom. Amen.

Forgiveness Worn

Forgiveness Worn.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13 NIV

It was a tough fight, but I finally did it. New Year’s Eve was my deadline. It was beautiful. It fit me perfectly. I loved how the silky texture felt and how the rich chocolate brown color highlighted my skin. My favorite part was the built in brown crystalline adornment…no need for jewelry or embellishments.

But, for two plus years it has served me no purpose. You see, due to the mishandling of my beloved blouse, it had two spots in a very conspicuous place. I am not sure how those pesky stains got there, but they were positioned dead center on the belly of the blouse. No self-respecting woman wants anything pointing to her gut.
I wore sweaters over it. Covered it with jackets and vests. Did everything to hide those devilish spots. However, no matter what I tried or how often I tried, as pristine as the rest of my precious possession was, those stubborn stains left scathing evidence of a part “unclean!”

As we move into 2015, let us remind ourselves that clinging to past hurts, holding grudges and choosing to walk in unforgiveness is very much like my brown blouse. If we profess a new life in Christ but then mishandle this life but letting in these kinds of stains, we will find ourselves dirty no matter what we try.
Why waste any more time with something that serves you no purpose other than to take up closet space in your mind? Whether or not the offender can apologize, chooses to apologize or (as in the case of my blouse) even knows they did anything wrong, it is up to you to do a wardrobe change. The process of allowing Christ to clean you includes…. Letting Go! Just like Christ forgave you and does not hold sin against you, Colossians 3:13 urges us to do the same. Not just cover to wear later (or use at a more opportune time,) but to choose to wear forgiveness instead.

So as I removed my brown beauty from its hanger, I took one last look at those stains, proceeded to make the long walk to the garbage can, stopped and used it to clean something off the counter to really ruin it so I would not be tempted to continue to hold on.  Finally, let it and myself free.

So, who’s up for a trip for a new unstained life and a new blouse for me? 

Father, in the Name of Jesus, according to your Word I want to forgive and set free, the same way you have forgiven and set me free. Lord, help me release these stains on my life so I can walk clean in you again. I thank you in advance for the newness of wearing forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.